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CEtchison
04-06-2016, 12:59 AM
I've been searching for some time and haven't been able to get any kind of an idea, so I'm hoping someone here might have a best guess.

How long before an officer's contract expires would he need to give notice that he does not plan to renew his contract. This is a someone with the rank of major and with the next renewal he'd be promoted to LTC. If he has a specialized position, would he need to notify higher ups 30 days in advance? 60 days? Would the army require six months?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)

cmhbob
04-06-2016, 04:36 AM
I'll put out a feeler at a veteran's forum where I hang out. I was just an E-4 when I got out.

Williebee
04-06-2016, 04:56 AM
As with most things, there's more to it than that. A person gets commissioned as an officer in the service. That, in itself, is not a set block of time. They may have a contract that says they will serve X years/months as a result of the job training that they received as a part of their enlistment, but that's a separate agreement. When they "make rank" -- advance, they may re-swear their oath. Also, nothing says they will be allowed continue as long as they want. Many career paths/jobs are competitive. Review boards meet regularly (annually, semi-annually? Not sure, I've been out for awhile) and, some officers are advised, after review, that they will not be retained, that they will be separated from the service.

There's also the question of whether or not they are retiring, transitioning to Guard or Reserve, etc.

This will give you more details on the separation process itself, including some time deadlines.. (http://www.apd.army.mil/jw2/xmldemo/r635_8/main.asp)

blacbird
04-06-2016, 04:57 AM
Just say no.

-- Nancy Reagan.

caw

CEtchison
04-06-2016, 05:29 AM
I'll put out a feeler at a veteran's forum where I hang out. I was just an E-4 when I got out.

Thank you, Bob. It's sometimes difficult to get ex-military to speak with romance writers. But I've spent years researching the hell out of this and the last thing I want to do is make an entire plot implausible from one little mistake.

I just need plausible. That's all. And since my series features the 75th Ranger Regiment, if someone knows someone who knows someone... well, I'll take what I can get. :)

Williebee
04-06-2016, 05:31 AM
There are a lot of us here who are former military. I think we have a couple of Rangers, too.

CEtchison
04-06-2016, 05:38 AM
As with most things, there's more to it than that.

Thank you for the link, Williebee. And yeah, I've come to realize there's a lot more than that. That's why I was going for a guess.

The character is a Battalion Surgeon with the 75th Ranger Regiment, so it's definitely a specialized function. His backstory is that he received a HPSP, which means for every year of medical school, residency and fellowship the army pays for, he is required to complete a minimum of one year of service. In the midst of medical school, he completed additional training (Airborne, Ranger school, etc) which enabled him to apply for the position of Battalion Surgeon once he's fully certified physician. He has since fulfilled his 1:1 commitment to the army and then some, but if he's not going back, this seems it would be one of those positions he'd have to give someone some advanced notice. I do know the US military has ER/trauma docs who are airborne certified, etc available on ready alert, so there would be someone who could step into the position once it was opened.

jclarkdawe
04-06-2016, 05:40 AM
As Willowbee says, this gets complicated. And this promotion is especially complicated. To make it to 20, you've got to hit Lt. Col. At 20, your retirement kicks in. So if he's likely to hit the promotion list, why is he leaving the military?

This sounds like something sudden coming up. So it's going to be a balance between the reason for his leaving and the needs of the military and where in his tour cycle he is.

Right at the moment, the military is in RIF (reduction in force) mode. Getting out, presuming you have no other contractual obligations, could be relatively quick and easy.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

CEtchison
04-06-2016, 05:41 AM
There are a lot of us here who are former military. I think we have a couple of Rangers, too.
Don't tease me. ;)

CEtchison
04-06-2016, 05:44 AM
As Willowbee says, this gets complicated. And this promotion is especially complicated. To make it to 20, you've got to hit Lt. Col. At 20, your retirement kicks in. So if he's likely to hit the promotion list, why is he leaving the military?

This sounds like something sudden coming up. So it's going to be a balance between the reason for his leaving and the needs of the military and where in his tour cycle he is.

Well, since I write romance you have to know it's because of a girl, right? ;) And the fact he's considering leaving so close to having 20 years is one of the points. There are plenty who think he's nuts to not stay and finish it out. But he's got to see about a girl.

jclarkdawe
04-06-2016, 05:54 AM
Okay, we cross posted.

He's not likely to face a RIF. He's going to be doing either one, two, or three year tours, depending upon where he is. If he wanted to leave at the end of a tour, he'd probably be allowed to. However, officers typically are looking at their next tour about six months from the end of their current tour. By about 90 days out, he should have decided on where he's going. Orders can be cut from that point on. Once orders are cut, getting out becomes more complicated.

He's a doctor, and he's going to plan ahead. What's his reason for wanting to quit the military? Is he going to another hospital?

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

CEtchison
04-06-2016, 06:04 AM
The "plan" was he's leaving to take a civilian position as a trauma surgeon at a Duke University Medical Center.

If 90 days sounds plausible, it would work for my story. That's pretty much what I had. His battalion is currently between deployment rotations. They have a two-week training overseas, he comes back for two months and then is out. The fictional rotational schedule I've created (like I said I've spent a hella lot of time trying to get this as close to realistic as possible) their next deployment would occur 60 days following his discharge.

noranne
04-06-2016, 07:10 AM
90 days is a pretty short timeline. In general, a resignation letter is submitted 9-12 months prior to separation. And there are usually minimum tour lengths that you have to hit, but you can't have received orders for your next tour (which is generally not until 6 months). It can be done more quickly (and more likely for an O-5, who doesn't have quite as many layers to go through), but it would not be the normal process.

This is coming from a Navy perspective, but the relevant guidance is from MILPERSMAN which applies to all services.

GeorgeK
04-06-2016, 11:32 AM
Officers don't do, "tours," as in the normal sense. Tours are an enlisted thing. Officers serve at the discretion of the military and are in until the military says that they are out. Typically unless there is some need for them to stay (heavy combat, low influx of people willing or able to replace them) the person and the military can come to some arrangement. Their CO can be a dick about it if they want to but since unhappy people tend to do poor work the trend is when possible to let them go.
"I want to resign."
"Ok, as soon as we have a replacement."
"When will that be?"
"It will be when it will be."
"But I have a job lined up."
"You have a job now. It will be when it will be."

The officers that I've known resign it was typically few months to in a few cases a few years before they were out and then as officers they can also be forcibly reactivated in a time of need. I know of one who didn't make the Major's list and when he said, "Then I want to resign and be done with it," they actually came back and said, "Ok, we'll swing that promotion for you." That was the only time that I personally know of that working, and that assumes that that guy was telling me the truth about his promotion.

There is also a rule (or was when I was working at a military hospital for a psychiatry rotation a few decades ago) that if someone was away from their assignment for more than 30 days they would get new orders for a new assignment. Some people took advantage of that. They didn't like their posting to some particular place and would act out in some feigned psychiatric way to get committed. If they acted the part bad enough they got shipped to a regional military hospital for psych evaluation and the more they acted out the longer the psych stay and maybe shipped stateside for further assessment and if they hit that 30 day limit they got new orders. They thought , "Yay! I don't have to go back to that hell hole!"
However the psychiatrists' recommendations generally were to not reassign them to a nicer post but to discharge them from the military. So, if you want to speed thing up for discharge a feigned or real psychiatric episode might work.

It's also generally, "Former military," if they left with either an honorable or general discharge and ,"Ex Military," if a dishonorable discharge.

Underdawg47
04-06-2016, 12:38 PM
I was a medic in the 2/75th Ranger Bn back in the late 80s. Unfortunately I don't know much about how officers give notice if they plan to reenlist. I was a specialist E-4 by the time my contract was up. As far as I remember, my superiors seemed to ask me if I planned to reenlist about 6 months before I left the army.

CEtchison
04-06-2016, 04:45 PM
Officers don't do, "tours," as in the normal sense. Tours are an enlisted thing. Officers serve at the discretion of the military and are in until the military says that they are out. Typically unless there is some need for them to stay (heavy combat, low influx of people willing or able to replace them) the person and the military can come to some arrangement. Their CO can be a dick about it if they want to but since unhappy people tend to do poor work the trend is when possible to let them go.


CO's being dicks?!?!? Say it ain't so?!?! ;) LOL From the chain of command charts I've come across, his CO would be the battalion commander. Above him it's regimental headquarters. And I know the battalion commander's change about every 2-2.5 years. So I might be able to tie it into that.


Re: your time in the military hospital... did you ever see a guy named Klinger dressed as Scarlett O'Hara? ;)

CEtchison
04-06-2016, 04:52 PM
I was a medic in the 2/75th Ranger Bn back in the late 80s. Unfortunately I don't know much about how officers give notice if they plan to reenlist. I was a specialist E-4 by the time my contract was up. As far as I remember, my superiors seemed to ask me if I planned to reenlist about 6 months before I left the army.
So that was back when they weren't on the continuous combat rotations they've been on since 9/11. From what I've gathered, their deployments are 4-6 months in length with about 6-8 months between deployments. So I would assume they wouldn't release anyone mid-deployment, it would occur between rotations.


And 2/75? Any Big Foot stories? :D

Amadan
04-06-2016, 05:31 PM
I want to note that making your 20 years with full retirement benefits is a big deal. He'd be leaving a lot on the table (basically, giving up a lifetime pension that amounts to a second income) to give that up, so anything less than life and death would strike me as an unconvincing motivation. What, the girl can't wait a couple of years? He could probably even swing a transfer to a unit more local to where he wants to be, if he's desperate enough and can call in enough favors. Or go on extended leave if it's a temporary problem that needs to be resolved.

CEtchison
04-06-2016, 05:47 PM
He could probably even swing a transfer to a unit more local to where he wants to be, if he's desperate enough and can call in enough favors. Or go on extended leave if it's a temporary problem that needs to be resolved.
So let me ask this. If he went reserve, would that still count towards his twenty years?

Amadan
04-06-2016, 05:56 PM
So let me ask this. If he went reserve, would that still count towards his twenty years?


I'm not 100% sure, especially for officers. I know it counts at least partially, but I don't know if a year as an active reservist counts the same as a year as a full active duty officer.

CEtchison
04-06-2016, 06:06 PM
I just did some quick research and found this...

You're not quite correct on the active duty retirement. There are two ways that service is calculated for retirement. There is "Service Creditable for Retirement Purposes" which determines when you are eligible for retirement. There is also "Service Creditable for Percentage Purposes" which determines the percentage of base pay that you will receive.

To be eligible to retire, you must have 20 years "Service Creditable for Retirement Purposes." Membership points, correspondence courses, UTA's, and any training under Title 32 orders are not creditable for retirement purposes. Any active service is creditable. This includes basic training, deployments, or any other time on Title 10 orders.

Once you reach 20 years and retire, your retirement pay will be determined by "Service Creditable for Percentage Purposes." At 20 years of creditable service, the multiplier for your retirement pay will be 50% plus 2.5% for every year after 20 up to 30 years (75%). If, at fifteen years of service, you elected to switch to the REDUX retirement plan (see #4 here (http://www.dfas.mil/army2/bonuses/redux.html)), the multiplier will be 40% at 20 years plus 3.5% per additional year up to 30 years (75%).

You may then also add in your reserve time which was not creditable for service (membership points, UTA's, Title 32 orders) Full credit (number of days) is given for annual training or attending a military school under Title 32 orders. Additional credit is given at the rate of 1 point equals 1 day for UTA's and membership points (no credit is given for correspondence courses). For service after 30 OCT 07, you may count a maximum of 130 of these points per year. For service between 29 OCT 00 and 29 OCT 07, a maximum of 90 points per year may be counted. Between 23 SEP 96 and 29 OCT 00- 75 points and before 23 SEP 96- 60 points. The rate for these additional days is 1 year equals 2.5%. This is then added to the percentage calculated from your creditable service.

So maybe it would be better to have him go reserve? Or there's the Special Operations Combat Medicine course is at Fort Bragg. Might have to look into him being an instructor there as an option. Would get him closer to said girl at least.

Amadan
04-06-2016, 06:16 PM
Going Reserve would at least let him continue accumulating retirement benefits, so unless he has a strong need to detach entirely, yeah, that would sound reasonable.

Underdawg47
04-06-2016, 10:26 PM
So that was back when they weren't on the continuous combat rotations they've been on since 9/11. From what I've gathered, their deployments are 4-6 months in length with about 6-8 months between deployments. So I would assume they wouldn't release anyone mid-deployment, it would occur between rotations.


And 2/75? Any Big Foot stories? :D


This was in the mid 1980s during Reagan's presidency. This was before DADT and before the first Gulf War.

Underdawg47
04-06-2016, 10:35 PM
So that was back when they weren't on the continuous combat rotations they've been on since 9/11. From what I've gathered, their deployments are 4-6 months in length with about 6-8 months between deployments. So I would assume they wouldn't release anyone mid-deployment, it would occur between rotations.


And 2/75? Any Big Foot stories? :D


It was the 2nd of the 75th Ranger Bn at Ft Lewis WA. The other Rangers Battalions are in Georgia.

Never saw or heard any Bigfoot stories. We were in the woods a lot and I never saw anything. I really don't believe there is a bigfoot because you would think they would get hit by a car ever so often. I would think you would need a lot of them to keep some sort of genetic diversity to keep the species alive.

WeaselFire
04-07-2016, 12:16 AM
One other option is to have him leave for a Federal job opportunity. His military time can be counted toward a Federal employment pension. Or could he transfer to the VA in some way?

But, generally, you're looking at a six month process if timing is right. There are other options for him to leave the service, even at a moment's notice, but they may not fit your story needs. Injury, some family issues and, though not usually in current times, a force reduction that hits his position. Though his medical position would be unlikely for any force reduction even outside of the current military situation.

The only officers I know of to retire earlier than their 20 were either force reduction and mustered out or left prior to 9/11. One captain who left after 12 years in the mid 1990's (He got married and her family had money and didn't want him in the military...) and it was almost a year between when he decided to leave and his actual separation. The only one I know who left close to his 20 was due to an injury that precluded him being in his position and he got a disability pension anyway.

Hope you get this sorted enough for your story, though most readers would likely accept a little fudging of dates and time frames.

Jeff

cmhbob
04-07-2016, 01:32 AM
I didn't get anything more useful or detailed than what you've gotten here, other than to say your timeline on Ranger training probably won't work for a "during medical school" scenario. The selection program and the course together can take up a couple of months I think, so it's not something you could squeeze into a summer. Jump school is only three weeks, so that's much more likely.

CEtchison
04-07-2016, 01:41 AM
I didn't get anything more useful or detailed than what you've gotten here, other than to say your timeline on Ranger training probably won't work for a "during medical school" scenario. The selection program and the course together can take up a couple of months I think, so it's not something you could squeeze into a summer. Jump school is only three weeks, so that's much more likely.
That's true. The one account I read from a Battalion Surgeon was that they worked it in somewhere, somehow as they went along through residency, fellowship, etc. Basically, they make it known to the army that they'd like that opportunity and the army handles the rest. That's not a detail laid out in his story so it's not really a concern. But thank you for the heads up. It's appreciated.

Duncan J Macdonald
04-07-2016, 01:45 AM
An additional thing about going reserves and finishing your time that way ... you don't start drawing that retirement pay until age 65. Of course, promotions still occur, so your character would be getting 50% of a larger pie.

I retired as an O4 in March 2002. I had my retirement orders in hand in early August 2001, and had requested transfer to the Fleet Reserve and Change of Status to the Retired List in March of 2001. So, in my case, it was almost exactly a year.